NJ Criminal Restraint Lawyer
Criminal Defense Attorney Helps You Fight Criminal Restraint Charges in New Jersey
Criminal restraint is one of the most serious violent crimes that a person can be charged with in New Jersey. That is why it is imperative that anyone facing this type of charge secure the services of a knowledgeable NJ criminal restraint lawyer as soon as possible. Right now, you may be wondering: what exactly is meant by “criminal restraint,” as the term is understood by NJ law enforcement and prosecutors? As set forth by the New Jersey criminal code, a person is guilty of criminal restraint when they use force to prevent another person from leaving a physical location or potentially dangerous situation. Many times, a criminal restraint charge is filed against an individual who has also been accused of domestic violence – a situation in which NJ police will not hesitate to take action to protect the alleged victim by arresting the accused. Regardless of the circumstances of a criminal restraint charge, the penalties tend to be severe and often involve prison time.
If you were arrested for criminal restraint in Paramus, Hackensack, Fort Lee, or anywhere else in New Jersey, your first course of action should be to talk to a qualified attorney. Contact NJ criminal defense lawyer Frank T. Luciano now to discuss your case and explore your best defense options.
N.J.S.A. 2C:13-2 – Criminal Restraint Charges in New Jersey
Criminal restraint charges are addressed in the NJ criminal code by N.J.S.A. 2C:13-2. The criminal restraint statute specifies that certain types of illegal conduct can result in a person being charged with criminal restraint:
- Physically restraining a victim in such a way that the victim is placed at risk of serious bodily injury, which means any injury that creates a substantial risk of death, causes disfigurement, or results in the victim losing functional use of a body part or vital organ.
- Holding a victim in a condition of involuntary servitude. This part of the criminal restraint statute tends to be interpreted broadly so that a person can be charged with criminal restraint in New Jersey if they hold someone else against their will for any period of time.
It is important to keep in mind that you do not actually have to injure the victim to be charged with criminal restraint. That’s because the statute also applies in cases when the offender puts the victim’s health or safety in jeopardy: merely creating a risk of serious bodily injury is enough to trigger criminal restraint charges in New Jersey.
Severe Penalties for a Criminal Restraint Conviction in NJ
The NJ criminal code classifies criminal restraint as a third degree crime (i.e., felony). What does this mean for a person accused of criminal restraint in New Jersey? First of all, you should understand that your case will be heard in the county’s Superior Court, not the local municipal court. That’s because criminal cases that carry the possibility of prison time for the offender are heard in front of either a judge or jury in the higher court. These kinds of serious criminal matters almost always require the defendant to have the guidance of qualified legal counsel – without competent representation, you will be putting your life, freedom, and future at risk.
A conviction on third degree criminal restraint charges can result in the following penalties:
- Prison Time: sentence of 3-5 years in NJ state prison.
- Fines: up to $15,000.
- Criminal Record: violent crime conviction on your permanent record.
While the immediate consequences of a criminal restraint conviction will likely include a prison sentence and significant monetary fines, the long-term consequences of a conviction could include having a violent crime conviction on your permanent record. It is not always easy to get a violent crime arrest or conviction expunged from an offender’s record, which is why it is critical that you have a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer handling your case and fighting on your behalf to help you avoid conviction.
Fighting a Criminal Restraint Charge in Hackensack, NJ
The best way to beat a criminal restraint charge in New Jersey is to be represented by an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of NJ criminal law and who is prepared to fight for you before trial and at trial, if necessary. Frank T. Luciano has decades of experience defending clients against violent crime charges in NJ courtrooms. Mr. Luciano knows how to successfully get a kidnapping charge downgraded to criminal restraint, and he also knows how to get a criminal restraint charge downgraded to false imprisonment. In both instances, a downgraded charge can save the defendant from being exposed to many years of prison time.
If your criminal restraint case goes to trial, the prosecution must prove certain elements in order to secure a conviction. Depending on the factual circumstances of your case, it may be possible to challenge the elements of a criminal restraint charge. For example:
- No Intent to Restrain the Victim: The prosecution must prove that you meant to restrain the victim. If you did not knowingly prevent the victim from leaving a location to such an extent that it constituted involuntary servitude, you may not have technically violated the NJ criminal restraint statute.
- No Intent to Harm the Victim: The prosecution must also show that you knowingly placed the victim at risk of serious bodily injury. If you were not aware that the victim’s health or safety were in jeopardy, you might not be guilty of criminal restraint.
- Lawful Restraint: It might seem obvious that the prosecution must prove that the “restraint” in your case was unlawful. However, it is not always easy for the prosecution to establish this element. For instance, you may be able to raise an affirmative defense that you were holding your minor child against their will for the child’s own safety and wellbeing.
Free Consultation with Mahwah Criminal Restraint Attorney Frank T. Luciano
Have you been charged with criminal restraint in Bergen County, Passaic County, or Hudson County? Then let accomplished NJ criminal defense lawyer Frank T. Luciano help you. Contact Mr. Luciano today by calling or emailing to schedule a free initial consultation.